Otherwise known as a penny board or short cruiser, these adorably tiny little skateboards were invented by Ben Mackay, the founder of Australian manufacturer Penny Skateboards, and have been replicated hundreds of times, globally.
Ideal for moving from A to B in style, without needing to lug a heavy board around, mini cruisers fit right into your backpack and are perfect for skaters on the move. Not only that, but they’re a great introduction to skating generally - especially for kids!
Those who don’t know a lot about boards might find picking a cruiser a daunting task, whether for yourself or a pintsized amateur Tony Hawk. Which deck is best? What wheels do I need? Are all ‘mini cruisers’ the same size? Important questions.
Don’t freak out - we’ve taken out all the effort and provided a list of six high-quality, hardcore mini cruisers, each designed to take your commute from snooze to cruise, if you’ll pardon our amazing pun. There’s sure to be one that catches your eye here.
Want to learn more about what exactly a mini cruiser is, how it differs from a ‘regular sized’ skateboard and components you should be considering to pick out a quality model? Simply head over to our clear yet comprehensive Buyer’s Guide.
Those with last-minute questions and concerns may also find their answers in the set of Frequently Asked Questions right at the end. Comprised of queries from fellow skaters (and would be board lovers), it’s likely yours will be there too. Good luck!
Got a Bruiser Looking For the Best Mini Cruiser? Here’s Our Top Pick:
6 Best Mini Cruiser Skateboards
OUR TOP PICK
Crafted from six full plies of stunning Canadian Maple Wood, this is a lovely take on the Mini Cruiser from the gang at Magneto.
Sporting a sandblasted grit finish for additional grip and foot support, this is as practical as it is beautiful.
Made of a quality, gravity cast aluminum, the trucks are not just reliable and sturdy, but top-mounted in Paris style; all of the little components, including your bushings, are cast in high quality polyurethane, which is a hell of a lot stronger than plastic!
For those looking for a bit of fun and versatility, the double kicktails mean that mannies, flips, ollies and general tricks are easily achievable. Their asymmetrical look makes for a directional surfer-style design that skates incredibly well.
Small and sleek, the portable design of one of Magneto’s most beloved boards makes it incredibly easy to take in your bag or carry under your arms, whilst still being especially fun and safe to cruise on successfully.
At 27.5 inches long, it’s longer than the average mini cruiser, so suitable for keen kids and amateur adults alike. The bold graphics on the deck are absolutely stunning and sure to impress even the most dubious of skaters.
- Beautifully constructed from 6 plies of Canadian Maple
- Durable and beautiful in equal measure, with impressive graphics
- Quality, gravity cast aluminum - sturdy and reliable
- Double kick tails for maximum trick capabilities
- 27.5 inches, rather than 22 - longer than average, so kids might want the shorter style of deck
Available in eleven bold, vivid colors, this fully assembled complete Mini Cruiser from Cal 7 is super affordable, but still manages to provide some seriously solid specifications where materials and components are concerned.
At 22 inches, these are perfectly petite and especially well suited for ambitious kid skaters; you’ll easily fit it into a backpack or your locker, making it compact and cool enough to cruise to class on time. Look good and feel good!
Upgraded with premium ABEC 7 bearings, you’ll find the rider is smooth and stable, with a better durability overall. Maximum grip is achieved with 60mm polyurethane wheels, bouncy at a hardness of 78A, which perfectly match the dinky deck’s design.
Conquering the closest of corners easily and breezily, you can navigate busy crowds or easily cruise along the coast thanks to the classic shape and smaller size. Maneuvering even the rockiest terrain feels smooth and secure.
Whether you’re an adult or a child, the sturdy and stable deck is boosted with a classic waffletop design for extra grip, capable of absorbing excess shock on rougher roads to keep your feet firmly on the board at all times.
- Fully assembled and ready to go right out of the box
- ABEC 7 bearings, 59mm 78A wheels and 3.25 inch aluminum alloy trucks
- More than ten vivid, vibrant colors to choose from, including cool transparent designs
- Loosen the screws to determine your own wheel flex
- You get what you pay for - this is an affordable board, so it’s not going to be as durable as those that cost hundreds of dollars
Being one of the most affordable boards on our list, you might expect a slip in quality, but the KMX Complete Mini Cruiser is a fantastic choice for a first skateboard, equipped with Abec-9 steel alloy bearings and high rebound PU bushings. Solid, sturdy, and super budget-friendly!
Perfectly rated at 78A on the durometer, all four polyurethane wheels are the required 59 inches in diameter, as well as being soft and smooth enough for an easy ride no matter what terrain you’re trying to conquer.
We’d highly recommend this model for kids, as there are nine bold, bright deck designs to choose from. At 22 inches long, with epic LED light up wheels that flash without the assistance of batteries or a charger, it’s sure to awe and impress your future Tony Hawk.
Although this is certainly targeting beginners, the subtle kicktail and positioning of the trucks make it a strong and stable ride - once you’ve mastered the basics, there’s no reason you wouldn’t be able to perform impressively and practice some of the easier tricks on it.
As part of your purchase, you’ll also receive a standard T-tool for adjusting the bearings to suit your preference, as well as a convenient carrying bag. Given everything you’re getting at under fifty bucks, this is probably the best deal out there for a kid suitable cruiser.
- Decent quality steel alloy trucks and PU bearings
- 220LB weight limit - suitable for adults as well as kids
- Ten cool deck colors to choose from, each with waffle tops for added grip
- 78A polyurethane wheels that flash without batteries/need for charging
- Very much a beginner’s board - one to start with, not end on
Landyachtz are known to manufacture some of the best boards on the planet, and their Dinghy mini cruiser is no exception.
Beautifully crafted from 100% Canadian Maple, they declare it is “the absolute best”...and we’d be inclined to agree!
Given it’s 28.5 inches long, it’s bigger than your average cruiser, but still very much on the lightweight and easily transportable side. Combining the feel of riding a longboard with the control of a regular skateboard, it offers the best of both worlds.
Rocking their Polar Bear 105 trucks from Bear, you’ll find this cruiser performs perfectly right out the box, easily able to handle those large 63mm Fatty Hawg wheels. Designed specifically for the Dinghy, they offer the optimum ride.
With a flat-ish deck, kick tail and slight nose, combined with a wider foot platform and big wheel wells, it’s a lot more accessible to ride than some of the other penny boards out there - the result of years of trial, error and evolution!
This particular design features the beloved Skeleton decal, though if you shop around it’s possible to find the Dinghy in a variety of designs, collaborating with some amazing artists - you could always customize it yourself with added grip tape, too!
- High quality, specially designed components that perfectly match the deck
- 100% Canadian Maple construction with artistic designs
- 63mm Fatty Hawgs wheels
- Comes factory assembled and ready to ride right out of the box
- Very much on the expensive side - not a sensible investment for beginners
Coming directly from Penny Australia, who patented the very first plastic penny board, we have their original, 22 inch design - one of the earliest and best iterations of a mini cruiser. Made using their incredibly secret formula, it’s certainly a toughie.
Each deck is topped with the non-slip waffle top for added grip. If you prefer a larger foothold for added balance, you can pick up a Penny that’s exactly the same composition, just measuring slightly bigger at 27 inches.
You’ll notice every component is of a high standard and quality, in particular their patented and signature Penny ABEC 7 bearings - you won’t just go fast, but maintain perfect balance and composure, for a smooth and technically sound skate.
Capable of going absolutely anywhere you do, the Penny can fit in most backpacks, making it ideal for the college campus or your next vacation. Arriving fully assembled and raring to go, you’ll be riding the open road before you know it.
Perhaps the best thing about Penny Australia is the sheer number of colors their boards are available in. This choice in particular is the distinctive Ocean Mist, a beautifully bright blue, but there are hundreds of others to choose from!
- Secret formula plastic deck with waffle non-slip grip
- 59mm 83A polyutherane wheels
- A-grade 356 cast alumnimum powder coated trucks
- Premium Abec 8 stainless steel bearings paired with high tensile bolts
- Over a hundred dollars - it's a beginner board, without the beginner’s price!
Super for those on a strict budget, without compromising on quality, the Lenexa Mini Cruiser is one of the best choices for a budding junior skater. In lime green, sky blue or violet, with a textured waffle top, yes it’s affordable, but it looks like a fancy board.
Constructed from flexible yet solid and good quality plastic, it’s highly durable and can definitely take a beating, but at the same time remains very light and easy to transport from A to B.
Don’t worry about cheap or shoddy components - this baby is packing Abec 5 carbon smooth roll bearings, aluminum trucks and 62mm 80a wheels. You can ride it inside or outside, with no damage to the floor - great for rainy days!
Quick, nimble and easy to turn, at 22 inches it’s perfectly pint-sized; reviews indicate that most customers have picked this board out for children and pretty much everybody seems satisfied that it was a brilliant choice.
No need to panic about proper assembly either - this board arrives fully assembled and ready to hit the streets right out of the packaging. Even if you’ve never seen a skateboard before, you (and your kids!) will have hours of fun riding this one.
- Quality aluminum trucks that keep a tight hold on trucks and bearings
- Can be ridden inside without risk of scratching your floor
- Flexible, durable plastic deck with grip
- ABEC-5 Carbon bearings for a silky-smooth glide
- Cheap and cheerful - not a professional board by any means
Best Mini Cruiser Skateboards Buyer's Guide
Mini Cruiser 101 - Which Parts Are Which?
Made up of quite a few parts, you can either build your own out of individual pieces or purchase a ready made cruiser that you can ride right out of the box. But what exactly does their anatomy consist of?
Otherwise known as the main part of the board, this is the platform on which you stand - for cruisers, you’ll find the decks are typically made of hard-wearing plastic, with grip tape or etched “waffle top” textured surface for added balance.
Quite obvious - you need these to move! As we’ll cover below, the wheels of a mini cruiser are a lot bigger and smoother than the tiny hard ones that a traditional board usually has, and nearly always made of a soft polyurethane.
When paired with a 22 inch deck, your wheels should be approximately 59mm in diameter - their hardness rating, measured according to a “durometer”, is always rated at 83A on a scale of 65-100, creating the optimum cruising conditions.
T-shaped and metal, the ‘trucks’ aren’t tiny vehicles, but rather tiny mechanisms that are mounted to the bottom of your deck, which the wheels and bearings are then securely attached to. Composed of several intricate parts, these are very important!
You don’t need to understand the whole truck as a functioning unit, but you should know that it contains a baseplate, the section screwed onto the top of the deck, and a hanger, which is the part that contains the axle.
Sitting directly between the baseplate and hanger are your bushings, which you may also hear called cushions, rubbers (yes, we know) or grommets, which depending on their stiffness determine how easy your bush is to turn.
Not all cruisers have a kick tail, but if you’d like one, you can get one! Simply a slight upward curve at the front or back of the deck, they are - as you may imagine - designed to help you quickly maneuver your board and perform certain tricks.
Skateboard vs Mini Cruiser - What’s The Difference?
Whilst the general concept - a deck on wheels - is the same, there are distinct differences between a traditional skateboard and its baby brother, the mini cruiser. Most obvious is their sizes - a mini is usually 22 inches, with a skateboard being 28.
Typically in a popsicle stick shape, the ‘normal’ skateboard deck has a raised nose and tail, but is available in a variety of thicknesses, lengths and materials. Cruisers have a “banana board” kind of style which has more of a retro look to it.
When it comes to wheels, those on a cruiser are far softer than the small, solid ones found on a regular board - the polyurethane used is far more adept at coping with rougher ground, making further travel a lot easier and less uncomfortable!
It’s also worth noting that, whilst it’s possible to travel on one, a regular skateboard is intended for trick performance and traveling short distances, whereas a mini cruiser is more capable of getting you from place to place - hence the name!
Features to Consider:
Although the ‘mini cruiser’ refers mostly to the 22 inch deck, you can get a 27 inch iteration from many manufacturers that’s slightly smaller than a regular skateboard but much more conducive to long distance travel.
Adults who are new to skating may benefit from using a mini cruiser to learn, but should probably stick to the larger sizes; as for kids, it’s been proven that the 22 inch model is pretty damn near perfect for their petite feet!
As far as Australia is concerned, plastic is the perfect material for a Penny Board; you’ll find that since manufacture began on those boards, quite a few brands have also followed suit and made their decks from plastic, too.
That said, the higher-end you go, the more likely you are to find a more traditional wooden deck - those we’ve highlighted on our list are made from 100% natural Canadian Maple, which gives a real air of distinction and quality.
First things first, let’s talk about trucks: these should ideally be made of a strong metal, usually aluminum, though more extravagant manufacturers may wish to use brushed steel, sometimes even titanium, for an even tougher truck.
To curate the perfect board for cruising, your bearings ought to be constructed from steel, which is the industry standard. The higher the grade, the better, though as long as you keep them well oiled and avoid leaving them damp you’ll avoid rusting.
Whilst not important to the function and form of the mini cruiser, how it looks is most definitely up to you too. They are quite literally available in any color you could imagine, with a whole host of other design features you can customize too.
Whether for you, your child or another lucky kid you buy presents for, you’ll be able to match their cruiser and their personality. Doesn’t matter what gender they are either - there’s plenty of choice regardless of hobbies and interest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you ollie on a mini cruiser?
Sadly cruisers are naturally designed for, well, cruising, so tricks are a lot more difficult given their smaller size. You could probably ollie on one if you already know how to do it, but learning is a whole different story.
In order to have the necessary kicktails and plenty of space to perform, figuring out ollies (and any skating tricks, generally) will be a great deal easier on a regular size board. Our advice would be to stick to the traditional for this one.
Are cruisers good for beginners?
Absolutely they are! Many board fans would in fact advise a beginner (especially those of kid age) to give a mini cruiser a shot first, as they are notoriously much easier not just to ride on, but control and keep a steady footing more generally.
Being far more forgiving on uneven surfaces than a regular board, you’ll naturally keep more stability, although those with feet on the larger side may find that their 22 inch (on average) decks are not quite accomodating enough!
Similarly, because they’re smaller and (often) made of plastic, you’ll also notice a mini cruiser retails much more affordably than their bigger, bulkier counterparts. Therefore, it’s less of an investment for those new to the sport.
Why are penny boards disliked by skaters?
Not all skaters are offended by the concept of the penny board, but you will find a self-righteous few who don’t care for the smaller, smoother counterpart of a regular deck. Primarily, it’s because they’re considered to be just a “hype” or a “trend”.
A lot of the hate comes from the fact that they can’t be used for correctly performing tricks or ramp riding - some skaters believe that they’re better suited as a fashion accessory than an actual vessel for skating.
All that to say - they aren’t disliked for a serious reason, nor should their reputation for being style over substance put you off. If you think you’ll have fun with a mini cruiser, or your kid wants one, then that’s fine!